“Oh, I get a partner for this mission? Good. Someone for me to hate.”
Oh no, here come the people with the imposing hoods. They sure are gonna do a thing, and it sure is going to cause a boatload of trouble for those poor, innocent Templars. The guys are just trying to make a living controlling the public, and these Assassin Brotherhood jerks keep coming along to ruin the fun! How rude.
That’s right, friends; it’s time for Assassin’s Creed #2. After a functional but otherwise unimpressive first issue, Charlotte de la Cruz returns to…well, sit in a chair and watch her white, male ancestor do exciting things in the past. But is the Assassin Tom Stoddard compelling enough to drive this horse and carriage onward? If his driving skills are anything like his murder ethics, he may run a heavy risk of running that cart into a tree. He probably thought the tree was a Templar.
When we last left Charlotte, our heroine was getting ensnared in conspiracy and mystery, as she “joins” (see: “is kidnapped by”) a rebel group trying to stop Abstergo from finding a Piece of Eden lost in the Salem witch trials. In this second issue, Charlotte dives into the story of Tom Stoddard, an Assassin dropped into the madness of the colonial town of Harlem with a single task: find the Piece of Eden, in whatever form it may be taking, and bring it back with him.
If #1 was our introduction to Charlotte, Assassin’s Creed #2 is our first real, substantial look at her long-lost counterpart Tom Stoddard. Stoddard is not your typical, ethical Assassin; instead, he’s actually one of the most overtly violent and merciless ones we’ve seen among the protagonists of the Assassin’s Creed universe yet, going so far as to kill and insult with equal discrimination. Stoddard is on a mission, and is greeted upon arriving in Salem by his informant, a rookie Assassin and trained nurse named Jennifer Querry. The two set off in search for the Piece of Eden; a piece about which nothing is known, except that it is somewhere in the town.
This issue introduces the two Assassins at a good pace, and gives them a lot to clash over. Unfortunately, all this has resulted in so far is the revelation that Tom Stoddard is a gigantic, judgmental jerk, and poor Jennifer has a lot to put up with. Charlotte herself gets pretty much nothing to do, limited to commenting on Stoddard’s actions as if she’s watching a movie. The first issue showed her injuring herself by trying to control Stoddard, making choices he wouldn’t have made. Here, her commentary sounds as though she’s no longer in control at all, and is kind of just a bystander. If you’re like me and found Charlotte to be the one redeeming thing about the first issue, you’re going to have a bad time here.
The art in Assassin’s Creed #2 has fewer weak spots than did the one before it; no faces look like they’re decaying, as their owners reveal their true forms as lizard-people, and nobody pukes off-color sewer water. There are some decent rooftop shots of Salem, and the main villain character introduced has a good dash of visual menace to him. Unfortunately, his partner looks like Severus Snape in a Shakespearean play, but I guess you can’t win them all.
Story-wise…well, things are getting weird. It’s nice to have more people to root for than just Tom himself, and Jennifer has leads of her own that drive things forward in this issue. The search for the Piece of Eden itself leads to a cliffhanger that will leave readers questioning some things about the limits of the Assassin’s Creed universe’s logic, and not in a particularly good way. This comic is setting future issues up to either get clever and interesting or (more likely) implausible and far-fetched. Far-fetched for a series about angry middle-class twenty-somethings puppeteering their own ancestors around in history textbooks.
Assassin’s Creed #2 continues to show little bits of promise, and then get back to being unimpressive and derivative. Good main character? Bury her under a murderous angry man with a raging superiority complex. Cool premise? Immediately stretch the logic fabric as far as it’ll go without ripping. The Assassin’s Creed comic line shows occasional signs of trying, but has a sync ratio in danger of falling fast.
Final verdict: 3 out of 5.
Publisher: TITAN Comics; Released: November 11th, 2015
Full Disclosure: this review was based on a copy of the comic supplied to HeyPoorPlayer by TITAN Comics.